May Bank Holidays

The King’s coronation is fast approaching, which means there is another additional bank holiday on the horizon, which is due to take place on Monday 8th May 2023. The Government have announced that this bank holiday will take place across the UK.

Usually, in May, we have the Early May bank holiday, falling on the first Monday in the month. This is then followed by the late May Bank holiday, also known as the Spring Bank Holiday, falling at the end of the month. However, this year we have an additional bank holiday, meaning there will be three bank holidays in May alone.

The issue of bank holidays is an important topic for employers, as this may have an impact or cause confusion on holiday entitlement for some employees.


Guidance on Bank Holidays

There is no specific statutory right for time off on a bank holiday. In many industries, such as retail or hospitality, working on a bank holiday is a necessity.

If your employer does give you paid leave on a bank holiday, then this may be in addition to your holiday entitlement or part of your holiday entitlement. This will be included in your contract of employment. If your employer fails to give you this when you have a contractual right to paid leave, then it will be considered a breach of contract.


Part-time employees

If you are employed on a part time basis, then some confusion may arise when a bank holiday occurs with regards to your holiday entitlement, especially if you are do not usually work on a Monday (when most bank holidays fall). The guidance is to give part-time workers a pro-rata entitlement to bank holidays, irrespective of the days worked. It will be at the employer’s discretion on how to deal with this additional bank holiday and part time workers, but again, it will depend on the terms of the contract of employment.


Are employees entitled to the King’s coronation as paid holiday?

The King’s coronation will operate in the same way as other bank holidays, and there is no statutory entitlement to time off.

There is no statutory obligation on an employer to allow their employees time off for the King’s coronation and in particular the Working Time Regulations 1998 will not act so as to increase the minimum holiday entitlement legally by one day for the King’s coronation.

Whether an employee is entitled to the extra day will depend largely on the terms of their contract as follows:

  • If the contracts of employment provides that employees are entitled to all statutory and public holidays e.g. ”you are entitled to 20 days’ holiday plus bank holidays”, the employees are contractually entitled to take the additional bank holiday as paid leave additional to their normal entitlement.
  • If the contracts of employment list the normal bank holidays as part of the entitlement, or refer to the “normal bank holidays”, the employee does not have a contractual right to the bank holiday as an extra days’ leave.

In reality, most employers will decide to permit the King’s coronation as an additional days’ paid leave, regardless of what the contract states. Employers choosing not to give the extra bank holiday, where they are not contractually obliged to do so, will need to carefully gauge the response that this stance would receive from their employees, particularly where schools etc. are closing.  

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